Littlebits, the open source hardware startup from Lebanese founder Ayah Bdeir, has raised over $44 million in what they say is one of the biggest Series B funding rounds of the maker movement.
Led by DFJ Growth (investors in Tesla, SpaceX and Box) the round included Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners, Wamda Capital and Grishin Robotics.
Launched at the World Maker Faire New York 2011 the New York-based startup has produced over nine kits and nearly 70 interoperable modules in their efforts to empower everyone, particularly children, to become inventors with a platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks.
“Our goal is to have Littlebits in every home, every school, every creative space,” founder and CEO Ayah Bdeir said in a statement. “And unleash the creativity inspired by understanding electronics so that everyone can become an inventor.”
With a reach that spans schools and universities around the world, Littlebits is also a go-to method of maker education for industry - GE uses Littlebits kits in its GE Garages initiative, where they work with the concepts of 3D printing, programming, and local prototyping in markets across the region.
According to the startup the goal for the latest round of funding is to invest further in their STEM/STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) distribution, and increase their global footprint. At the moment this includes more than 100 countries and over 2,000 schools and universities using the hardware kits.
New additions to the team
As part of their expansion new minds are coming on board, most notably Barry Schuler from DFJ Growth, and former chairman and CEO of American Online Inc. Littlebits is also taking on former executives of MakerBot and LEGO.
“Over the past decades we have seen the disruption of several industries, from media to software and app development. Hardware is up next and Littlebits is leading the charge,” said Schuler in a statement. “Littlebits is at an inflection point and we are thrilled to back the company, Ayah, and her team, through this next chapter of explosive growth.”